Tips for Traveling During a Pandemic

By theglobalbackpacker | Aug 5, 2020

Tips and My Experiences Traveling During a Pandemic.

Denver Capitol Building Area in Colorado.

Denver Capitol Building Area in Colorado.

Are you sick of staying at home? Want to go traveling again? Are you worried about COVID-19 during your travels?

These are all legitimate questions you should be asking yourself right now if you want to travel. The pandemic is a big looming problem we are all facing. Concern for traveling is legitimate, and if you want my honest opinion, you probably shouldn't go at this time.

But I know how people are, and we never take the safest path, I should know I’m one of them.

In this post, I will be discussing my traveling experiences during the pandemic and giving you some tips along the way. I went to two separate places with two very different attitudes toward dealing with COVID-19. So, let’s start with my experiences at these two places.

My Experiences

Recently I traveled to two places, Wilmington, North Carolina and Denver, Colorado. I went to Wilmington because of a family birthday, and I wanted to spend time at the beach. I'm not going to lie; I went even with the fears of COVID-19.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Living in a state where the cases are rising is unsettling, but I am also a lover of traveling. For a while now, I have wanted to go to the beach and get out of my home. I miss traveling, and it felt great to hit the open road. I was also cautious while doing this.

No one was wearing a mask while on the beach. I don't blame them; if you have never been to North Carolina during the summer, you don’t know how humid it can get. When you are on the beach, you just want to relax and not think about your problems or the world's problems.

Laying on the beach, playing in the waters, taking in the sun, it was so great. But it was also stupid to do this during a pandemic. The beach was not empty; there were plenty of people out there. It was nice to see this, but I knew that this could be a problem.

Carolina Beach in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Carolina Beach in Wilmington, North Carolina.

In the end, the trip was fun. It was nice to get out and to be at the beach. Should I have gone? I'm not too sure about that. Do I choose my mental health over my actual health? Which do I risk more? This was all on my mind while I was on this trip. I went for family and to take a break from the monotony of real life.

But don't worry, I still had fun, and I was able to relax while on this trip.

Denver, Colorado

The Denver trip was an invitation for a birthday. It was for a good friend of mine, and it was a free trip! The flight was covered, I even had a place to stay for free. The birthday boy’s girlfriend had paid for our flights. I couldn’t pass this up; travel has been difficult due to the pandemic. So, the trip moved forward. My wife, another close friend, and I left for Denver, CO.

Larimer Square in Denver, Colorado.

Larimer Square in Denver, Colorado.

Previously I had gone to the beach, but for that trip, I drove. For this one, I would have to take a plane.

The Airport

Traveling on a plane during this pandemic was interesting. In my experience, every time I have gone to the airport, it is packed with people. The line through security is long, and it takes at least a good 30 minutes to get through. But this time, there were way fewer people. The big reason is that international travel is barred. Fewer people are traveling abroad or in general. The line did not take too long. Of course, we had to wear our masks the whole time we were there.

Many of the stores in the airport were closed, this was a weird sight for me. The mask was starting to feel uncomfortable, and I knew it was going to be a long flight. But I had to do this for the safety of myself and others around me. Plus, it was mandatory, so I didn't have a choice.

Denver

Colorado is a lot different than North Carolina. I say this from how they have handled COVID-19. The attitude has been to flatten the curve as quickly as possible. They were in phase 2 for a good while; they also required everyone to wear a mask from the beginning.

Plumb Bob Brain and Two-Sided Face in Denver, Colorado.

Plumb Bob Brain and Two-Sided Face in Denver, Colorado.

If you were not wearing a mask even out in the streets, you would get dirty looks from time to time. This state had taken the precautions more seriously than in North Carolina.

Mural in Denver, Colorado.

Mural in Denver, Colorado.

No humidity. I must tell you this was the best. I loved how low the humidity is in Colorado compared to North Carolina. It was amazing! My wife, our friend, and I stayed in Denver for ten days. We traveled around the city, saw the sights downtown, visited the Rhino neighborhood, strolled around the botanical gardens, and had a great time.

The bars and restaurants were nearly empty, a stark difference from Wilmington. It was nice to support those local businesses, especially since everyone is struggling during this pandemic. But we didn’t stay in the city the whole time either.

Communing With Nature

We left the city to enjoy some hiking and spend some time with nature. The Rocky Mountain National Park and the Garden of the Gods parks were our destinations for this trip. Everyone was wearing a mask in the city, but out here, you didn't see people wearing them as often. This makes sense as the dry heat and the activity of hiking can make breathing a bit more complicated, especially with a mask.

Scenic Drive to the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Scenic Drive to the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

This situation was the same as my beach trip. People were still having a good time while enjoying the sights.

A river along the Rocky Mountain scenic route in Colorado.

A river along the Rocky Mountain scenic route in Colorado.

I just wonder, was all this worth it? Should I have risked my health for a chance to travel? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you go out during these times. I was able to spend some quality time with my wife and my friend on his birthday. However, what did I risk doing this?

Tips for Traveling During a Pandemic

Some of you might be thinking, "Wow, this global backpacker guy is a real idiot for traveling during a pandemic!" Well, it’s not as bad as you might think. Yes, the threat of catching the virus is real. But if you take some precautions, then you can help alleviate that risk for yourself and others.

These tips will help guide your adventures and make your travels safer.

1. Don’t do it!

If you don’t feel comfortable traveling during a pandemic, then don’t. I know that this is weird coming from me. It's ok if you are scared, this is serious and we should take it as such. Just wait until the curve flattens nationwide before you consider your next destination. It will still be there when you are ready.

2. Practice Social distancing

Whenever possible, you must try and stay as far apart from others as you can. This can be hard when you are on a plane, but try your best. It will be challenging to accomplish while traveling, but if you do your part, you can protect yourself and others.

3. Wear a mask

This one is self-explanatory. Just wear a mask, I know its uncomfortable, but it is good for yourself and everyone around you. Whether you are on a plane or going into a building, you're going to have to do this. Get used to it and do it.

4. Pack light

This is one rule I live by in general whenever I travel. If you take a backpack with all your gear, then you can have it on the plane as a carry-on. You won’t have to waste your time at baggage claim or moving slower because you are lugging multiple pieces of luggage. You want to spend less time in crowded places while you have COVID-19 on your mind.

5. Have fun!

It may be hard to do this in times like these, but try your best. If you practice social distancing and take the necessary precautions, you should be ok. Always make sure to be safe and just relax when you can.

At the End of the Day

Traveling during a pandemic can be both scary and stressful. Remember, if you don't feel comfortable traveling during this time, then don't. Take the necessary steps and prepare for your trip. Practice social distancing, wear a mask, pack light, and remember to have fun! Your favorite places to visit will still be there down the road. These new places will be waiting with open arms to accept travelers in the future. When you are ready, grab your bag and travel the world!

All pictures were taken by @carriecat_eye Instargram.

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Written by theglobalbackpacker
Hi, my name is Tom. I am a teacher, traveler, and blogger. I have a passion for both history and traveling. Check out my website for more about me and my travels.

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